Do you awaken to sore or stiff jaw muscles?

a bowl of cereal

Has this happened to you before? You open your mouth and you hear a snap, crackle, and pop, But it’s not coming from a bowl of Rice Krispies. It’s happened before and you thought it would go away. But it hasn’t. Do you awaken to sore or stiff jaw muscles? You’ve tried to figure out the problem, but you can’t. There’s something that can cause either of those problems. I can help you find relief.

Take the TMJ Risk Quiz


Take our quick, 15 second quiz to discover your risk level for TMJ Disorder and begin living a pain free life!

What Are Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located in front of each ear. The joints connect your jaw to your skull. Place your fingers in front of your ears and open your mouth to feel the movement of the joints.

What Are Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

Temporomandibular joint disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles controlling jaw movement.

These conditions usually fall into three categories.

  • Pain caused by irritation of the muscles that control jaw function.
  • A displacement of the joint from its normal position.
  • A group of degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint.

Possible Causes of TMJ Disorders

  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Dental surgery
  • Hormones
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Genetics

There can be many causes of TMJ disorders as well as some cases where the cause can’t be identified. Take our quick, 15-second quiz to discover your risk level for TMJ disorder and begin living a pain free life!

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

  • Pain in the chewing muscles and jaw joints
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Pain radiating in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when it opens or closes
  • Changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

Facial pain can be caused by other conditions such as sinus or ear infections. Rule out other possible causes first to help identify TMJ disorders. There are several treatment options for patients suffering from TMJ disorders. If you suspect that you have a TMJ disorder, contact my office to schedule a consult.

Fondly,

Dr. Britt

Why Suffer From Jaw Pain?

Woman with jaw pain

You wake up to excruciating jaw pain — again. You think about what your day has in store and cringe. How will you interact with co-workers, clients, and even the Starbucks barista when it physically hurts you to smile? If this scenario is familiar, you may have a problem with your TMD.

The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to your upper. When this joint becomes inflamed or irritated, it results in TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. For some, TMD pain can be debilitating, preventing them from enjoying social situations. The following symptoms are the most common:

  • Facial swelling
  • Jaw clicking or popping sounds
  • Ear, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Ringing of the ears or dizziness
  • Jaw pain, particularly when talking, chewing, or yawning

The problem with TMD is that many of the symptoms can be explained by other health conditions. You don’t inherently suspect a misaligned jaw when you have chronic shoulder pain.

TMD can be caused by a number of things, from arthritis of the temporomandibular joint to trauma such as whiplash. Whatever the cause, Dr. Angela Britt can use Physiologic Dentistry identify the source of your pain. The technology we utilize, such as Myotronics (bite evaluation system), allows Dr. Britt to view how your facial muscles, jaw joints, and soft tissues work together. This information is then used to develop a personalized treatment plan that will finally put an end to your pain. Types of treatment include:

  • Physical therapy and stretching exercises to strengthen jaw muscles
  • Occlusal appliances such as splints to place your jaw in the proper position or mouth guards to prevent jaw clenching and grinding

There is no need to suffer from TMD symptoms when help is just a phone call away. If you live in Brunswick, Georgia, or the surrounding communities, contact Dentistry by Angela Britt to schedule a consultation. Your smile and your comfort matter to us.

A Transformation You Won’t Believe

Patient testimonial thumbnail image

One of the best parts of being a dentist is merging art and science to change a person’s life. It may sound extreme to suggest that dentistry is life-changing, but when a patient is so self-conscious about their smile that they avoid talking, laughing, photographs, or social situations altogether, a cosmetic dental treatment can quite literally change how they interact from day to day. Maybe you can relate to this personally or know someone else who has had a similar experience and might benefit from a cosmetic treatment. Recently, one of my patients was selected by Paisley Magazine to participate in their “April Smile Takeover,” which included restorative and cosmetic dentistry as well as aesthetic enhancements. Together, we accomplished a transformation that can only be described as awe-inducing. Skeptical? Learn exactly how I helped my patient achieve the look she’d been wanting for years.

Meet Elizabeth …

Several years after the passing of her husband, Elizabeth decided that it was finally time to get out into the world and try new things. She began volunteering, learned how to speak Italian, and practiced meditation, for starters. One particular event loomed large, though: the 50th reunion of the Vardell Hall Girls School. Elizabeth understood the value of self-care, so we came up with a game plan that would give her a smile to match her vivacious personality.

The Procedures …

Due to jaw pain, failed root canals, and worn-down restorations, Elizabeth’s transformation was completed in several stages:

  • We started by treating her TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) with an orthotic device that would correct her bite and end her jaw pain.
  • Implants were placed where root canals had failed.
  • Excess bone matter (called tori) was removed, allowing for proper placement of her tongue and improved airway function.
  • After gaining a clear picture of what Elizabeth wanted her new smile to look like, restorative crowns were placed on her teeth and implants.
  • While the above treatments provided a natural “face-lift” by filling out what previously appeared to be sunken in, we finished with Botox to reduce the appearance of fine lines and dermal fillers to enhance her lips, providing the perfect frame for her new smile.

Looking good for her class reunion was Elizabeth’s original motivation, but she gained so much more from her smile transformation. Her improved airway function allows Elizabeth to enjoy a restful night’s sleep; when she wakes, she is energized and motivated to do the things she is passionate about. Her beaming smile perfectly complements her confidence and zest for life.

Every day, I am reminded of how powerful dentistry can be. Elizabeth’s story is just one of many that make me proud to be a dentist. If you’re ready to place yourself somewhere on your priority list, contact my office to schedule a consultation. Together, we can help you have the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Fondly,

Dr. Angela Britt

Got Jaw Pain?

man with jaw pain

Do you ever experience unexplainable jaw pain? Maybe headaches that just don’t seem to go away? Do you hear a clicking or popping sound in your jaw when you speak or eat? Worst of all, do you ever find your jaw locked or limited in movement? Don’t despair; even if other medical professionals haven’t been able to find the source of your pain, I just might be able to help. Here’s how:

The Culprit – The TMJ

The source of these symptoms could very well be your temporomandibular joint – or TMJ. When the jaw joint is misaligned and the surrounding muscle and tissue aren’t able to function properly, patients have a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder – or TMD.

The Symptoms of TMD

TMD does not only cause the aforementioned pains; it can cause a host of other aches and concerns that seemingly have nothing to do with the jaw. A misaligned TMJ, for example, could result in earaches or ringing in the ears. It could also be responsible for neck, shoulder, and back pain. If you’ve experienced these symptoms but they’ve left your primary care provider mystified, then they could be the result of TMD.

The Good News – Treatment

As a Fellow of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, I have received extensive training in diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders such as TMJ. Our myometrics bite evaluation computer will allow me to assess the condition of your bite and devise a treatment plan that is customized to your unique bite and lifestyle. Whether your treatment will require an oral device, orthodontics, or crowns, you may finally experience the relief you’ve been waiting for.

There is no need to live in pain. If you regularly experience jaw, ear, or neck discomfort and are ready to get to the bottom of the cause, contact my office today.

TMJ Disorder (TMD)

man with hands at his jaw in pain from TMJ

What can cause TMJ (TMD)?

  • grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench teeth
  • injury to your jaw, joint, or muscles of your head and neck
  • a bad bite or poorly positioned teeth

It has been recognized that approximately 90% of the pain in the body comes from muscles. Since the muscles of the head and neck are all related to or affected by the bite or jaw relationship, it is critical to consider muscle comfort in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients who suffer with bite issues. Many individuals do not realize that muscles play an important role in dentistry.

The traditional dental education still focuses on the relationship between the upper and lower teeth combined with the jaw joint position but completely misses evaluation of the muscles. Why hasn’t anyone caught it before? Dentistry is about more than just your teeth!

When the muscles of the head and neck and the teeth are not in harmony, pain can develop. Symptoms such as headaches, vertigo, ringing in the ears, jaw pain, neck pain, sensitive teeth, just to list a few, can be associated with TMJ disorder. There are a few options available. The most effective is a bite computer, it is used to determine the optimal bite position and an orthotic fabricated to reposition the jaw joints, thus decompressing the joints and alleviating the pain. This method determines the cause of the pain while providing a solution for symptoms.

Dr. Britt wants to help you build the perfect pain free bite!!! Hurry and call 912-264-5550 to schedule an appointment for you to achieve the optimal bite!

Keep On Smiling,

Dr. Angela Britt

For Fabulous, Function and Fit call Dr. Britt today to schedule your appointment!

Bite Disease Treatment for TMJ Disorder versus Botox

woman sitting in dentist chair holding jaw in pain from TMJ

I am sure a lot of you have seen advertisements or articles on treating TMJ disorder with Botox. While both methods can be used to reduce or eliminate pain, I want to take this opportunity to talk about the differences between the two methods.

Botulinum toxin, known as Botox, is a manufactured injectable medication used therapeutically to reduce the strength of targeted muscle tissue. The FDA approved the use of botulinum toxin as a first line treatment for chronic migraine in February 2011. It takes the toxin approximately 2 hours to bind to the nerve and approximately 2-10 days from injection to exert it’s clinical effect. Re-treatment is most common between 3 to 6 months with a small percentage going considerably longer. Botox is used to treat some symptoms associated with TMJ disorder by injecting the toxin directly into the jaw muscle, thus paralyzing the muscle in order to reduce the pain. This method alleviates or reduces pain by masking the real problem for TMJ disorder, a bad bite.

Changing a bad bite into a neuromuscular or physiologic bite can treat the primary cause of the pain. TMJ is a common term used to describe temperomandibular joint or the jaw joints. When the joints, the muscles of the head and neck and the teeth are not in harmony, pain can develop. Symptoms such as headaches, vertigo, ringing in the ears, jaw pain, neck pain, sensitive teeth, just to list a few, can be associated with TMJ disorder. A bite computer can be used to determine the optimal bite position and an orthotic fabricated to reposition the jaw joints, thus decompressing the joints and alleviating the pain. This method determines the cause of the pain while also providing a solution for symptoms.

Treating TMJ disorder with neuromuscular dentistry or Botox injections for facial cosmetics.

If you or anyone you know would like more information give us a call at 912-264-5550 to schedule an appointment to determine if your face or neck pain may be caused by TMJ disorder and a misaligned bite.

We can get your Bite right!
Dr. Angela Britt

Migraines a symptom of bad bite

woman with fingers at her temples in pain with a migraine

Did you know migraines can be a symptom of a bad bite?

For many people, migraine headaches are a “normal” part of their life. Medications can be used to stop or manage the pain, but the source of the pain is not always determined. Most people don’t think about mentioning headaches or facial muscle pain to their dentist but this type of pain is a common symptom of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), also know as TMJ Disorder.

So how does a bad bite fit into this scenario? The position of the jaw joint is determined by how the teeth fit together. If the teeth don’t fit together properly or are not in harmony with the muscles, the muscles and joints accommodate. The misaligned bite often leads to muscles that are in a “tug of war” between teeth coming together thousands of times a day and a relaxed position. This causes fatigue and can lead to headaches.

There are many other symptoms that can be associated with a bad bite. These may include:

  • Jaw joint noise or clicking
  • Limited jaw opening
  • Teeth grinding
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in and around the ear
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Vertigo
  • Numbness radiating down into the arm

By decompressing the TMJ joints and determining an optimal position for the bite, symptoms like the ones listed can be improved and many times, totally eliminated.

Not only does this work for patients with teeth, but the same concept can be used for denture wearers as well.

If you or someone you love is suffering from unexplained headaches, call 912-264-5550 today for a neuromuscular consultation.

Facts on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and TMJ Disorder

woman in pain holding her jaw

Did you know that patients who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia commonly have temporomandibular joint dysfunction as well? According to research administered by the National Institutes of Health, fibromyalgia patients have a high incidence of TMJ disorder and exhibit classic TMJ symptoms such as clicking or popping sounds during mouth movement, along with facial pain and muscle pain in the head and neck.

Fibromyalgia is a painful and often debilitating disease. For some people the pain can be so intense, it gives sufferers incapacitating migraines. Patients with fibromyalgia typically experience deep, radiating pain throughout their bodies, especially near joints. Those with fibromyalgia can also experience stiffness and difficulty moving. It is common for migraine medications to be prescribed for these symptoms, offering very little or no relief. That is because the headaches and pains are a result of temporomandibular joint disorder, or a misaligned jaw. Other symptoms of a misaligned jaw or bad bite are ringing in the ear, pain in the face, neck shoulder and back, vertigo or dizziness, tingling or numbness in the fingers, ear pain or stuffiness, TMJ pain and migraine or chronic headaches.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the symptoms of 60 male and female patients with fibromyalgia. Nearly 70% of patients experienced facial pain near the TMJs while 35% of the study’s participants reported TMJ disorder symptoms such as difficulty opening the mouth and discomfort when eating. The NIH concluded that patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia should also be tested for TMJ disorder.

Physiologic dentists are trained in dealing with disorders of the jaw, nerves and muscles in the neck and head, and can help in reducing and even eliminating this type of pain. In order to relieve these symptoms, a bite computer called the K7 is used to determine the optimal position for the jaw joints, muscles and teeth. A custom device called an orthotic is designed for placement over the teeth to reposition the jaw and create a balanced bite. This treatment is also indicated for relief of the other symptoms associated with a bad bite. Physiologic treatment for TMJ disorder is nonsurgical and can be life changing!

Schedule a consultation with me to discuss your symptoms and how to become medication and pain free today!

Think You May Have TMJ Disorder?

woman touching her head due to headache from tmj disorder

When the chewing muscles and jaw joints do not work together in harmony, you may be experiencing Temporomandibular Disorder – or better known as TMJ.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some estimates suggest that TMJ disorder affects over 10 million Americans and the conditions appear to be more common in women than men.

If you are experiencing chronic headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder stiffness and earaches, these conditions may be directly related to your bite – or the misalignment of your jaw.

The misalignment of the jaw can cause many problems such as:

  • Clicking or popping of the jaw joints
  • Pain in or around the jaw joints
  • Locking or limited opening of your mouth

However, while there is no substitute for getting the proper treatment plan to address these conditions, there are simple short-term tips that can be beneficial to managing the pain on a day-to-day basis such as:

  • Eating soft foods and avoid chewing gum or hard ice
  • Apply ice packs and avoid extreme jaw movements
  • Short term use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medicines will provide some relief
  • Learning techniques to reduce stress may also provide relief

In the end, stabilizing your bite so that your teeth, muscles and joints all work in harmony is the ultimate solution to provide long-term pain relief.